This year, for the third time, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and London Councils have commissioned leading polling company ComRes to undertake a local business survey of Greater London.
With close to 9 in 10 (86%) of businesses in the capital not currently employing apprentices, the LCCI and London Councils have called for a fully devolved apprenticeship service for London – something that new research shows business supports.
Cllr Clare Coghill, Executive Member for Business, Europe and Good Growth, London Councils, said:
“This year’s survey continues to show that the apprenticeship levy is not working for London and that businesses overwhelmingly back boroughs having more freedom, which would enable local government and business to work together via a London Apprenticeship Service.
“Across the board, London businesses are also hugely supportive of greater devolution to address a whole range of the city’s most pressing issues such as housing, transport and community safety. We will continue to work with the LCCI to make our case to government for greater devolution. Business agrees that Whitehall needs to give London and other UK cities the powers, freedoms and budgets to support vibrant, inclusive economies.”
- Two years on from the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, only 13% of businesses in the capital say that they currently employ apprentices, down from 17% in 2018.
- The survey results show that confusion persists within the business community regarding requirements to pay the Apprenticeship Levy and use of apprenticeship funds.
- Nearly a fifth (18%) of those surveyed did not know whether their business is required to pay the levy, whilst over half (55%) of those paying the levy don’t employ any apprentices.
- 69% of businesses surveyed do not expect to use apprenticeship funding this year, whilst amongst those using funding only 16% said they plan to use more than half available to them (down from 28% in 2018) - clear signs of a system in need of reform.
Stronger powers to boroughs
There was strong support from London business leaders for devolution to London’s councils. More than seven in ten agreed with statements about devolving greater powers, freedoms and control across a range of service areas
Overall, business leaders are more likely to be satisfied than dissatisfied with services and guidance in a number of areas, namely transport (57% vs. 18%), community safety (40% vs. 31%) and trading standards (38% vs. 16%). Even in the face of significant funding cuts, the quality of these services is seen by the majority of businesses as having remained consistent over the last 12 months.